The Chronicle of Golgotha Days by Sujith Balakrishnan

#blurb: Abhaya, a sixteen-year-old girl is abducted and forced into a life of endless torment. Every day is a new hell for her, oscillating between torture and death, with a quickly dimming flicker of hope that one day she will find her way back home. But will she? What does home really mean to a fractured soul?In anguish, it appears the whole world delights in schadenfreude, while God lies in wait. In wait for what, no one knows.

Author: Sujith Balakrishnan

Publisher: Frog in Well

Pages: 202

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My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5

The protagonist of the story is Abhaya, a sixteen year old girl whose one wrong decision led her to a life of pain and regrets. She trusted a man named Babu and ran away with him, but he betrayed her and sold her innocence. She was forced to become a sex slave and another cruel man named Guru became her master. She was raped and forced to sleep with numerous men. Everyday became a nightmare for her. She wanted to run away from that hell but Guru warned her that if she did so he won’t spare her family. She became part of a visious circle who exploited her according to their needs and didn’t care a bit for that poor girl. If you want to know the complete story of Abhaya then don’t forget to pick up the book.

The book is amazingly written and put forwards the story of physically scarred and emotionally tormented Abhaya. A girl who survived through hell but never got the justice she deserved. Her childhood was snatched away by people who are more pathetic than demons. These people don’t deserve to live on this earth but yet never die. As a reader I could feel the extreme pain Abhaya went through which killed her zeal for life. The torture she faced was beyond expectation and made by blood boil with anger. Such people who destroy a girl’s life for their sexual pleasures are a shame on humanity. They deserve to die brutal deaths. Moreover the judicial system in such matters is a huge disgrace. And the fact that very few people who go through such situations get justice fails us as human beings. Those perverts manage to live a happy life because the system is corrupted. They bribe and take help of ministers to get free from the charges. Such cases are increasing day by day and no one is taking any action. Only false promises are made by the government and they always fail to deliver. The world is becoming a dangerous place for women and our very own motherland tops the chart.

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The Mind Game by Devika Das

#blurb: Happiness, stress, ecstasy or depression, it’s all a mind game. As long as our mind is under our control, everything else is. That’s what The Mind Game is all about. It is not an average self-help book that preaches life-enhancing methodologies based on complex science or long philosophical verses. The book’s genius lies in its simplicity. It offers quick, actionable and instantly applicable tips that will help readers lead better lives – instantly.

Author: Devika Das

Publisher: Blue Rose Publishers

Pages: 214

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My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5

In this book the author speaks about how to live a happy and stress free life. The secret to happiness lies within us and the author helps you discover it. It is divided into six sections and each one imparts a meaningful lesson which we often tend to forget. It speaks about how to master our emotions and not succumb under it to become successful in every sphere of life. The art of analyzing people is also important to maintain a healthy relationship. The author has presented various theories on how to distinguish individual personality which is interesting and thought provoking. In today’s life people are so busy judging other on the basis of materialistic possessions that they forget living a minimalistic life is the real key to contentment. We need present ourselves in such a way that people will adore us irrespective of what luxury good we possess or what brands we wear. The author also highlights the importance of meditation and how it helps to attain inner peace and happiness. Anger management is also necessary to lead peaceful lives. We should learn to be calm and composed in every situation. Various strategies have been mentioned in the book in this regard. The importance of a happy workplace environment has also been stated.

Overall the book is well-written and insightful. It imparts knowledge on how to live peaceful lives in this modern era. It helps you to inculcate good habits which will improve your lifestyle and the way of thinking. Trust me this book has so much to give that after reading it you will experience a change in yourself. It will surely change your outlook on life for your own benefit. Every page is meaningful and will teach you one thing or the other. The author has mentioned some short stories which makes the book all the more interesting. I feel everyone should read this book once to have a better understanding of life. I highly recommend it to everyone

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Alumni of the Year by Tomson Robert

#blurb: Dave is ambitious, has a demanding boss, and is struggling to balance work and life, especially the relationship with his five-year-old daughter. Dave cherishes the memories of his school days. However, due to an incident from the past, he hardly keeps in touch with his best friends.
When Dave learns that his arch-rival from school is nominated for the prestigious Alumni of the Year Competition, he buys his way into the nomination by donating to the school library.
Travel on a life-changing journey with Dave-from Dubai, to Goa, to Kochi-as he goes for the School Reunion function. See how he confronts his past, his ambitions, his fears, and discovers about what truly matters in life.

Author: Tomson Robert

Publisher: Notion Press

Pages: 158

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My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟/5

Dave works as a management consultant at JW Associates in Dubai. He works hard day and night to get promoted to the position of a Senior Partner in the firm and in the process is not able to spend time with his family. He feels he is losing his daughter who doesn’t get to spend time with her father. Moreover his school reunion is coming up which brings back some good and bitter memories. He still remembers the incident which caused him his friendship with Divya and Nitin. Moreover to beat his arch enemy Varun, Dave decides to buy his way into the Alumni of the Year Competition to be held on the day of the reunion. He sets out for India with his family to visit his parents and in-laws and attend the reunion but work follows him there too. With an angry boss and an unhappy family he seeks solace in God despite being an atheist. Will his newly found faith in God help him sort out his life?

The book is fast paced and can be finished within few hours. The plot is fresh and keeps you engaged till the last page. With vivid writing style and realistic characters the book doesn’t fail to impress you. Now-a-days people run after success and in that race completely ignore the family. Children deserve to spend equal time with both of their parents otherwise it can affect them psychologically and make them feel unloved. The way Alex stayed away from Dave shows how important give time to your children. If in the run for success you lose your loved ones that success won’t make you happy. Moreover the book also brings back the memories of our school days and makes us reminisce the best times of our lives. The importance of family and friendship is well depicted in this book. It also focuses on one of the most debatable topic ‘God does not exist’ and at the end as Dave truly points that if we have faith then we can experience the existence of God. I really enjoyed reading this book which imparts some beautiful lessons which we often tend to forget in our busy lives.

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Love in the Time of Affluenza by Shunali Khullar Shroff

#blurb: Raising three beautiful children in her beautiful Bombay home with her aristocratic husband of 15 years – every bit the prince you read about in fairy tales – Natasha has it all. But when her closest friend drops the bombshell that she’s isn’t entirely fulfilled by her family and is having an affair, Natasha begins to ask some difficult questions about her own seemingly perfect life.

Author: Shunali Khullar Shroff

Publisher: Bloomsbury India

Pages: 296

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My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5

The protagonist of the story is Natasha Singh, a talented writer and a mother of three. She is married to a handsome prince named Varun Singh who is the owner of an architectural firm. Natasha is a dedicated mother and gave up her full time job to raise her children. Apart from listening taunts from her mother –in-law for being a non-royal she also writes a fortnightly column for City Reflections. But her life faces a sudden turn when she comes to know that one of her closest friends Trisha who also happens to the wife of Varun’s best friend cum business partner Nakul is having an affair. Trisha justifies that she is not happy with her married life and makes Natasha promise not to tell anyone about the affair. This not only leads to trouble in her married but also makes Natasha question if she is really happy with her husband. If you want to know more about the life of Natasha Singh then don’t forget to pick up the book.
The book is funny, witty and unputdownable. Natasha is just like any other girl torn between work and family. She always wants to be there for her children but later also realize that she is missing out on a successful career. Throughout the book the author explores various intricate human relationships with a pinch of twist and humour. There were times when I was laughing out loud at the clever punchlines mixed with sarcasm. The book is well written and keeps you engaged till the very last page. At times I found myself sympathizing with Natasha but while at others I also felt sorry for her husband who was trying his best to make everyone happy inspite of having a busy schedule. But the situation she had to face because of Trisha was really unfortunate. The posh lifestyle of the Indian nobility and higher class families is also well portrayed in the book. With lots of family drama and witty lines the book can be your perfect partner for a cozy evening. The story is light, realistic and enjoyable and so I highly recommend it to everyone out there.
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Meant to be Together by Faraz Kaazi

#blurb:Preeti Thaker moves to Mumbai to run away from herself. to put behind a painful childhood, plagued adolescent years and the recent death of her only support system – her brother. She is on the verge of ending it all, succumbing to her depression, when the doorbell rings. Little does she know that answering it will change her life forever! The guy on the other end of the door will offer her solutions to all her problems, but in the process, she will end up losing the only thing she had never lost till date – her heart!
Inspired by the true story of an artist who found that love was the only color missing from the palette of her life, Meant to be together is a tale of love, friendship, courage, determination and above all, hope. Hope that makes us look for the rainbow when it rains and for the stars when it is dark.

Author: Faraaz Kazi

Publisher: Srishti Publishers and Distributors

Pages: 224

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟/5

Preeti did not have a happy childhood. She and her brother used to live at their grandparent’s house while their mother took care of their sick father. Her classmates would tease her when her parents won’t show up at various school functions. Moreover her P.T teacher molested her which took away her mental peace. She became uncomfortable around boys and developed trust issues. Also her mathematics score was going down day by day. During all those difficult times she found solace in her brother. He used to comfort her, cheer her and helped her with her studies. Eventually she completed her higher studies and got a job. But her brother’s sudden death right before his wedding left her shattered. As if all the brightness from her life was snatched away. That’s when she met Sameer and her life took a beautiful turn. But her sufferings didn’t end there. If you want to know more about Preeti and Sameer’s story then pick up the book.

The story was beautiful, fast paced and kept me you hooked till the end. The characters were well casted and didn’t fail to impress. My favourite character was that of Sameer as he was a cheerful, helpful and fun loving young man who had a soft corner for Preeti. He gave her company when she needed the most after losing her brother. He is like the boy next door who was always there for her. On a serious note, the book also dealt with sexual abuse and exhibited how difficult it is for a person who went through that trauma to trust anyone again. Also not to mention the brother-sister relationship was wonderfully portrayed. Preeti was very lucky to have a brother like Hitu in her life while growing up. Only a person who had lost a loved one can understand the pain she went through after he left the world. She was lucky to have parents who supported her throughout and also motivated her to do well next time whenever she failed in studies. The book also dealt with the beautiful bond of friendship who helps you to smile a little bigger and live a little better. Also while reading this book I came to know about a learning disability called dyscalculia which hampers a person’s ability to understand numbers. The parts with the diary entries starting from Preeti’s childhood were touching and heart-warming. Overall it was a pleasant read with a happy ending.

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The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent”

#blurb: Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

Author: Angie Thomas

Publisher: Walker Books

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Pages: 464

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5

Starr, a 16 year old girl was travelling with her friend Khalil from a party when suddenly a police officer stops their car and wrongfully murders Kalil just based on his doubts. Starr who happened to be the sole witness of the killing of one of her best friends gets shocked and feels devastated to the core. She doesn’t take time to realize that Khalil was killed because he was black just like her. That incident becomes a nightmare for her and she feels difficult to carry on with her normal life. She wants to teach that policeman a lesson but is afraid that being a minority it can bring her family into more trouble. Will Starr be able to raise her voice? Will there be justice for Khalil? Or due to racial discrimination the murderer will able to walk freely? If you want to know in depth about Starr’s fight for justice then pick up the book.

The book is amazingly written and points out the injustice against black people. The plot is fresh and the characters are well casted. It is fast paced and keeps you hooked till the end. Racially motivated violence against black people is the main theme of this book. Even in 21st century they are being oppressed and killed just because of their skin colour. How black people are more likely to face injustice is highlighted in the book. Black Americans still fear the police and the underlying causes are horrible and unforgivable. Though all the police are not same like all the white people are not same but there are some because of whom the inequity and hatred still prevails. It breaks your heart to read what Starr has to go through for being a black and how at every step she was threatened to back out from the case. The scenarios described in the book makes you questions that if freedom still prevails in the 21st century. One question again and again popped up in my mind that how can one human being hate another just because of their skin colour. And not just in America, these situations prevail in every other country where minorities are looked down upon and neglected. It pains to see so much hatred in this world based on caste, religion,sexuality, skin colour, etc. Life is too short to spend on spreading negativity when you actually should be loving each other and pulling each other up. Angie Thomas has put forward this brilliant book which urges you to raise your voice against this oppression. Everyone of us has got a voice which we should learn to utilize to make this world a better place for everyone. Starr is a very brave girl who went forward despite of being afraid, also her family and friends are the best anyone can have. Also to have a boyfriend like Chris you need to be very lucky. They all stood for her when she needed them. They were like her support group who didn’t let her lose hope. I request everyone to read this book. This book is one of those kinds which deserves to be read. I highly recommend it to everyone.

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Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino

Sometimes it’s as important to prove there is no answer to a question as it is to answer it.

#blurb: When a man is discovered dead by poisoning in his empty home his beautiful wife, Ayane, immediately falls under suspicion. All clues point to Ayane being the logical suspect, but how could she have committed the crime when she was hundreds of miles away?

As Tokyo police detective Kusanagi tries to unpick a seemingly unrelated sequence of events he finds himself falling for Ayane. When his judgement becomes dangerously clouded his assistant must call on an old friend for help; it will take a genius to unravel the most spectacular web of deceit they have ever faced…

Author: Keigo Higashino

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group

Pages: 384

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My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5

When Yoshitaka dies mysteriously in his empty apartment the first one to discover his body is his girlfriend Hiromi with whom he is having an extramarital affair. His wife Aayane is at her parent’s house when the incident takes place. Police first suspects Hiromi of the murder but drops it due to lack of evidence. Eventually they find out some deep secrets which clears Hiromi of the charge but points towards Aayane. But there is no sufficient evidence to prove Aayane’s guilt. That’s when the genius physicist comes to their rescue. Moreover detective Kusanagi’s judgement gets clouded due to his liking towards Aayane. How are they going to solve the crime? Who is the real culprit?

This book is yet another masterpiece by Keigo Higashino which doesn’t fail to amuse. It is a twisted tale which can’t be solved without the help of a genius. And if you know the style of Keigo Higahino’s writing then you already know that within the first few pages you will know about the real murderer and the rest book revolves around how the crime was committed and how come there is no evidence. Every page is filled with twists which keep you hooked till the end. It is a very fast paced thriller and can be finished in a single sitting. The writing style is captivating and doesn’t let you lose interest for even a second. I can guarantee you there is never a dull moment in this book. And the end is going to leave you dumbfounded. It is a must read for all the mystery buffs out there. Out of all the three books I have read by Keigo Higashino this is my ultimate favourite.